Have you considered the need for eCourse terms and conditions?
Before you start accepting students, have you considered what you’ll do if one of your students shares your content without permission, says they didn’t get what they paid for and wants a refund, or doesn’t pay the next installment on time?
Let’s do a quick recap of what these two legal documents are, and why I think EVERY course creator should have them.
eCourse Terms & Conditions Policy
A basic Terms and Conditions policy tells people what they can and cannot do with your original content (like your photos, your course worksheets, or the original marketing strategy you’re teaching). When you sell your content, a T&C can be extended to protect you in the event that someone wants a refund or shares your content illegally.
It’s not at all uncommon for photos and content to be shared — with or without the permission of the creator — and often without credit. If this happens to you, what recourse do you have?
This is where a Terms and Conditions can help protect your interests. If you’ve clearly spelled out that you need to be asked for permission before your content is shared, then you’re on firmer ground if you ever need to send a cease and desist letter or claim copyright infringement.
Basically… you’re creating trust with your visitors + potential customers by telling them what the rules are and what they can expect.
Okie dokie, now that we’ve gotten what these two things are out of the way… let’s talk about what you should include in your agreements so that your legal heiny is covered:
// Refund requests – it happens to all of us, a student buys in, samples the goods, and decides they want their money back. What will you say? Make it easy on yourself (and them) by spelling out when you will and when you won’t offer a refund.
// Chargebacks – sometimes the customer doesn’t even ask you for the refund first. Sometimes they go directly to the credit card company and claim they didn’t get what they expected. You can help protect yourself by spelling out exactly what you’re providing and what they can expect from those materials.
// Credit card transactions – who processes the information, and who has access to it? Are you liable if the payment processor gets hacked? Make sure everyone knows what’s up by including this information.
// Course materials use – after your student has mastered what you’re teaching… what then? Can they go on to teach the same method? Can they use the course materials you’ve developed or not? Make sure you spell out your expectations up front if you don’t want problems later.
// Login sharing – your course is so fabulous that your student wants to share it with their friends! That’s great, isn’t it? Maybe not so much if the sharing means you lose out on the opportunity to connect with new students and lost revenue. Again, making your expectations clear up front will save you heartache down the line.
Where do I get eCourse Terms and Conditions?!
These two documents may seem intimidating, but they really don’t have to be.
You can start with a solid, attorney-approved terms & conditions template and customize it to your needs. We recommend the templates from The Contract Shop – they are tailored to e-Course businesses and written by attorney’s and should cover everything you need and even some extra things you probably didn’t think about.
Please note: law does vary across countries and templates alone will not 100% cover you and to be absolutely watertight. I love that The Contract Shop considers other major countries such as Australia when writing their templates but its best to get them checked by a local attorney for your local laws. Why I suggest providing The Contract Shop templates to a local attorney is because many attorney’s are not aware of the specific issues with online business – especially e-Course based businesses.
You should also take a look at what other course creators and companies are using and how they’ve adapted their documents to represent their brand, cover themselves legally, and create a working agreement with their students and clients.
And remember a template policy is better than NO policy!
Okay, now you’re ready to launch!
Now that you’ve got yourself a template (wait, you didn’t yet? click here!) and customized it for your awesome course, let me mention a couple of other things:
Make sure you offer your new students a chance to read these documents sooner rather than later, like, ideally before you even take money from them.
If any of your students are from the European Union, you also have to comply with the GDPR rules now, so click here to make sure you’re covered!
Yay! You’re on your way to creating and launching your e-Course and ensuring that your rights (and your customers) are covered!